What's up in

physics

Swirling video.
Abstractions blog

Axions Would Solve Another Major Problem in Physics

March 17, 2020

In a new paper, physicists argue that hypothetical particles called axions could explain why the universe isn’t empty.

Multimedia

What Is the Geometry of the Universe?

March 16, 2020

In our mind’s eye, the universe seems to go on forever. But using geometry we can explore a variety of three-dimensional shapes that offer alternatives to “ordinary” infinite space.

A close-up of fossilized amber.
materials science

Ideal Glass Would Explain Why Glass Exists at All

March 11, 2020

Glass is anything that’s rigid like a crystal, yet made of disordered molecules like a liquid. To understand why it exists, researchers are attempting to create the perfect, still-hypothetical “ideal glass.”

Q&A

The Man Making Rwanda Into a Hub for Physics

March 3, 2020

As the founding director of a new institute for fundamental research in Rwanda, the physicist Omololu Akin-Ojo hopes to stem the brain drain of Africa’s brightest minds.

Cosmic reionization video.
Abstractions blog

How the Cosmic Dark Ages Snuffed Out All Light

March 2, 2020

The recent discovery of some of the first galaxies in the universe illuminates the darkest era in cosmic history.

Illustration of black holes connected by a wormhole.
quantum information theory

Wormholes Reveal a Way to Manipulate Black Hole Information in the Lab

February 27, 2020

A proposal for building wormhole-connected black holes offers a way to probe the paradoxes of quantum information.

Antares photograph.
Abstractions blog

New Wrinkle Added to Cosmology’s Hubble Crisis

February 26, 2020

A problem confronts cosmology: Two independent measurements of the universe’s expansion give incompatible answers. Now a third method, advanced by an astronomy pioneer, appears to bridge the divide.

Computer simulation of gravitational waves produced by a binary neutron star merger.
Abstractions blog

‘Radical Change’ Needed After Latest Neutron Star Collision

February 20, 2020

A recent neutron star merger has defied astronomers’ expectations, leading them to question longstanding ideas about neutron stars and the supernovas that create them. “We have to go back to the drawing board.”

Painting of a planet and a star.
exoplanets

New Exoplanet Search Strategy Claims First Discovery

February 18, 2020

By watching for a special kind of flare, astronomers have identified the fingerprints of an Earth-size planet orbiting a distant star.